Americans Looking for Moderation in the Next Supreme Court Justice

Americans generally favor equal rights but are divided on issues such as gun control and right to refuse business services

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC — With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s swing vote, the makeup of the United States Supreme Court stands to see a long-term conservative shift. As the important replacement decision looms, Ipsos and Daily Beast have conducted a poll to find what the American people seek in their next Supreme Court. 

According to the average American, the next Supreme Court Justice should be moderate with positions favoring equal rights and protections under the law. Furthermore, the next Justice should oppose allowing more partisan or corporate influence over government. However, Americans are divided on matters of conscience and gun ownership where there is much less unanimity. 

Looking at specific laws, Americans want a moderate on abortion (33% agree abortion should be completely illegal, 63% disagree), political spending (26% for, 67% against corporations and unions spending as much as they wish), for same-sex marriage (64% for, 28% against), against the rights of companies to deny employees certain health coverage on religious grounds (27% for, 67% against), and against racially based gerrymandering (68% agree states should not be allowed to do this, 15% disagree). Americans are less clear on the rights of businesses to refuse services that violate their religious beliefs (48% for, 45% against) and the rights for states to impose restrictions on gun ownership – 45% agree states cannot do so and 48% disagree. 

About the Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted June 29-July 2, 2018. For the survey, a sample of roughly 1,003 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 345 Democrats, 325 Republicans, and 226 Independents. 

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. 

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online nonprobability sampling polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,003, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=5.0). 

The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 6.0 percentage points for Democrats, 6.2 percentage points for Republicans, and 7.4 percentage points for Independents.

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can  download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or contact us.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025

Mallory Newall
Director, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. Through our media partnerships, Ipsos Public Affairs is a leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and internationally. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.
With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs

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